HIRAX began in Los Angeles in 1984, but spent most of their time playing in San Francisco. The band released a four-song demo in 1984, and because of this recording, HIRAX became known and respected worldwide through the metal tap e trading underground.
HIRAX were signed to Metal Blade Records and contributed the track “Bombs Of Death” to the legendary compilation "Metal Massacre VI," which also featured Slayer, Voivod, Celtic Frost, Fates Warning, Metal Church, and Trouble. The bands on the "Metal Massacre VI" compilation were at the forefront of a new metal movement and the record sold well and HIRAX gained fans at a rapid pace.
"HIRAX, along with our label mates, helped start something very, very important that has lasted the test of time," said vocalist Katon W. De Pena.
HIRAX released their first full-length record in 1985 on Metal Blade titled "Raging Violence". The band's combination of the heaviness of metal and the speed of hardcore became known as “crossover”.
HIRAX released a second album for Metal Blade in 1986 titled "Hate, Fear, And Power”. The band had been through a lot by this time, constantly touring and some changes in the line-up, but they continued on.
“We weren't their typical band so we stood out like a sore thumb," De Pena said. "The record is only 22 minutes long and we probably confused even some of our fans at the time. We knew that we didn't want to follow the satanic trends of the other metal bands."
It was the last release the band would record for Metal Blade.
HIRAX continued on without any label support and released a 3-song demo in 1987 titled "Blasted In Bangkok”. HIRAX was back to selling demos on its own, but now they had a loyal fan base behind them that had grown larger because of the two Metal Blade releases. Lautrec Records from Los Angeles, California released a 7" record of two songs from the "Blasted In Bangkok" demo.
That same year, Katon, along with drummer Gene Hoglan (Dark Angel, Death, Testament, and Strapping Young Lad), and original Metallica bassist Ron McGovney, formed the band Phantasm and recorded a six-song demo with Bill Metoyer of Metal Blade Records.
Disillusioned by the music industry, De Pena left HIRAX at the end of 1988 and he was briefly replaced by Exodus frontman Paul Baloff. This lineup didn't last long and by 1989, HIRAX was no more.
The reunion of HIRAX was put into motion in 1997 when their friends in the band Spazz asked them to be on a split 7”, released on Pessimer-Theologian Records. The record found its way to a whole new generation of underground music fans and generated a buzz about HIRAX once again.
"Later on, we would realize it was the spark that would eventually bring the band back together," De Pena said.
In 1998, the original line-up from the demo days reunited in 2000 and released the EP titled "El Diablo Negro" on Black Devil Records- De Pena's label. HIRAX had come full circle at this point, redefining their sound with a combination of speed and aggression similar to their early style.
In 2001, the band followed up "El Diablo Negro" with "Barrage Of Noise,” which received critical acclaim by magazines and fanzines all over the world.
A new chapter had been forged in the legacy of HIRAX. Since their reformation, the band has toured constantly throughout North America and Europe. In 2003, HIRAX played at the prestigious “Bang Your Head” Festival in Germany to an enthusiastic early-morning crowd.
“Everybody had told us that the Saturday morning 10 AM slot is the hardest of the festival, " De Pena said. ” Because of all the late night/early morning parties the night before, most of the crowd is in no condition to get up that early, but they did for us. It only took a few songs before the whole huge floor was packed with headbangers.”
HIRAX spent the last half of 2003 writing material for their new studio recording titled "The New Age Of Terror.” In February 2004, the band entered Speed Semen Clove Factory in North Hollywood, Calif. with producer Michael Rozon (Melvins, Adrenaline O.D.) and recorded and mixed 11 tracks in an unbelievable 9 days.
“The sound and feel of the recording is dark and hellish," said De Pena.
“The New Age Of Terror” was released worldwide in 2005 and HIRAX's live assault continued with a headlining slot at Minneapolis Mayhem 2 Festival, as well as appearances at the Metal Devastation Festival in Arizona, Tijuana, Mexico, San Francisco, Las Vegas, and Massachusetts.
HIRAX recently released their first DVD “Thrash Til Death,” a headbanging epic clocking in at over 2 hours. The DVD features the complete set from their performance at Minneapolis Mayhem 2, plus bonus footage from shows played in Germany, Sweden, The Netherlands, and San Francisco during “The New Age Of Terror” tour.
The band's newest release titled “Assassins Of War.” [Feb. 2006]. HIRAX has regrouped in 2006 with a new lineup and a re-energized, fierce determination to create music that will surpass all of their previous material and they will continue their never-ending support for the metal underground.
HIRAX is a band consisting of 5 talented musicians- lead guitarists Glenn Rogers and Lance Harrison, bassist Steve Harrison, and drummer Fabricio Ravelli, but the band is a dream and obsession of one man. Katon W. De Pena could have left the band and never looked back and HIRAX would have become a footnote in the history of metal. But De Pena envisioned something more. HIRAX had more to prove, more songs to write, and more countries to conquer, so HIRAX continues on. Metal flows through De Pena's veins and HIRAX is the band that will keep true metal alive.